Janine Dunn - Protectress (Doula)
Protectress (Doula) // Plaster, flour, paint, cement and charcoal on canvas // 20 x 41 inches
Janine Dunn produces contemporary folk art paintings inspired by the farmland and characters of her rural town of Gibsons BC. From her studio situated on a country road (the 1940’s building is a converted girls’ Camp dormitory), she creates work visually anchored in her own lived experience, in her own lexicon of magic.
As a homesteader of British Columbia Dunn borrows directly from farm life. Canvases are covered with leftover flour, soil, dyeing leaves, and other readily available materials. Through a limited colour pallette, figures emerge, food, water, houses, tools and shapes. Bodies are likened to geological forms, shapes emerging from the light and shadows. She is pulling from a pool of archetypes, filtered in dreamlike abstraction. Rendered in bold strokes and raw texture, Dunn’s figures and landscapes invite references to cave paintings, Art Brut, and Le Corbusier’s Purist aesthetics.
The paintings are then treated like the crops themselves, physically buried in the earth, left outside, or stored in cellars for later dates, in order to transform and grow new shapes on their own. Dunn's commitment to her canvases begins to mirror her standing commitments to everything else she cares for on the land, which is to say it is a collaborative process, in lockstep with nature’s seasons. The emerging patina and texture present cyclical dimensions of death and rebirth, as image.
Her work reflects the desires of many to reconnect with the land and our life sources. Dualities of modern life emerge: loneliness versus community, convenience versus self-sufficiency, built up dwellings and sprawling nature, and even the darkness of depression against healing inspiration. Seen in person, these paintings emanate a calm simplicity, yet reveal new details on every viewing.